It’s been more than 3 months since my last post about Mr. Grayson, and Michele (Fat Buckskin) has been on my case to update. As life turns out, we ended up entering the Galway 2022 Kickoff Horse Trial in February after a friend of mine had to scratch her horse. We did Starter, and first of all, it was the strangest group I have ever been in. You have everything from career starter people on their older ponies (who are literal goals in life) to pros on young, imported warmbloods. It was such a strange competition, but we had a good time, learned a lot about each other, and finished 5th (and the top placing amateur). 

Honestly, that weekend just made me completely fall head over heels with this horse. Galway can be a big atmosphere. There was the eventing competition running side-by-side with a Dressage show. We were stabled adjacent to the race horse barns, and you had multiple fields of kids playing soccer not too far off. Vendors were stationed all along the edge of our Dressage warmup, and the sun was just setting when we went to jump SJ. While Grayson was unfazed, this meant I couldn’t see a distance in warmup to save my life. 

Of course, you also have to factor in just how DIFFERENT things are out here vs. Kentucky. No one would have blamed him for being a little star struck. But no, he was calm and relaxed and basically just wanted cookies all weekend. I tacked up too early for SJ, so I figured we’d hang out in the barn for a bit. What did he do while I sat in a chair holding him? He took a nap. 

We headed up to SJ and were STILL too early. So what did he do? Nap. I was also too early for XC (this really was the theme of the weekend), so what did he do? He put his head in the lap of one of our barn kids sitting in a golf cart… and took a nap. He was brave and consistent in SJ… seriously… it was like the best hunter round of my life haha.

He came out a little unsure for XC, but I was just really consistent and clear with him. By the end, I could tell he was really enjoying himself, and so was I.

Naturally, we came home and started making plans for BN. We had schooled some of it, and we schooled a bit more of it. He was really blossoming, and we were both having a great time. 

Then, the first week of March, I flew up to Vancouver for a few days for work. And I got a video clip of a dead lame horse from my trainer. We figured he bruised his feet pretty bad, so we packed his feet and rested him. I came out the next week to no shoe on his left foot. Great. Taped up his foot and called the farrier. Then… things just weren’t resolving. Vet came, took x-rays, and… laminitis. How? Some kind of trauma. My best guess is he and his friends got spooked in their field overnight and ran a bunch. Since he is less accustom to the hard ground in CA, he saw the consequences of those actions. 

The inflammation was, on all accounts, fairly minor. Unfortunately, it’s just taking a long time to fully resolve. We thought we were through it, then he relapsed, due to an issue with the pads on his feet combined with the start of fly season. (Stomping at flies is a no-no for sure.)

So it’s more rest, more ice, and more therapies. I’m spending more time at the gym and finally getting some resolution on my back pain due to my accident back in December. I keep telling myself it’s so that I am fit and ready to come back when he is, but honestly, I just am not totally sure what to do with myself. 

I am concerned that he isn’t going to come back at all, or in a limited capacity that requires me to make some really hard decisions. But I am mostly just trying not to think about that. For now, I am committed to giving him a TON of time off and basically doing whatever my vet recommends we do. This little horse really did steal my heart, so I am just trying to stay hopeful that he comes back for me. 

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. martidoll123

    He will be okay. And once he is I can say I told you so. Or he can come to TN to retire. Either way it will work out! You guys are doing whatever you can to make him comfy. At least he is a good guy 🙂 makes it a lot easier for sure!

    1. Emily O'Leary

      yes! I am so wildly thankful that he is such a good patient haha. No shenanigans out of that one. But yes, if he can’t adjust to Cali… he’s getting a one way ticket to TN. Where we both know he would show up and be totally sound the rest of his life for you.

  2. tntibbetts

    Ugh! So frustrating! I must recommend the Shoo Fly boots! My horses are all barefoot (in humid and hot Texas) and they don’t stomp with the boots on. 10/10 recommend them to help poor Grayson!

    1. Emily O'Leary

      I have them and always used them for May, since she is barefoot. So I slapped a pair on him too! We literally went from 0 flies to awful flies in a week. Gotta love southern climates.

  3. Stacie Seidman

    Oh man, I’m SO sorry! I hope he gets through it soon and comes back better than ever. Laminitis is so scary, and takes a lot of care and time. You always do the best for your horses, so I know you’ve got this!
    I’m glad things started out so well though, and I’m sure you’ll be back at it together before you know it.

    1. Emily O'Leary

      Luckily I have an amazing vet, farrier, trainer team here to keep everything on the tracks. I’m just incredibly lucky that he’s so quiet and good for all this.

  4. Avery

    Oh I am so sorry! Time and more time <3

    1. Emily O'Leary

      I keep reminding myself that he JUST turned 7 and May was an (estimated and generous) 9 when I got her. We have nothing but time.

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